2015 Darkness & Barrel Aged Darkness by Surly brewing (Double Review)

10660163_10102989070181360_1084719787016361949_nThe time has come for another yearly review of Minnesota’s equivalent of Dark Lord Day (Darkness Day), Surly Darkness! If you were lucky to have the 2014 version of Darkness, there was only one release at the time that was both the original but also aged in Rye Whiskey. This time, they released both the original non-barrel aged and the barrel aged versions. Today I will bring you the review for the original brew for this year and the Whiskey Barrel variant. Both beers, though a pretty penny, I was able to get through online means. If you want to get this one, you can try and find them at www.mybeercollectibles.com or best your chance to trade. Regardless, I want to see if these beers are worth the trade but also want let you know if they are worth it to save you some time. Who am I kidding, ofcourse these are awesome! Then again, let’s see if they have changed over the years too. Cheers!

2015 Darkness*
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2015 Darkness by Surly brewing is a 10.3% ABV World Class Russian Imperial Stout.

Label:
Our 2015 vintage bottling of Darkness features a screeching bat-nightmare by local artist Brandon Holt.

No creature is more adept at navigating in the Darkness than a bat. Emerging from a deep and ancient cave, this year’s twisted nocturnal creature has evolved a set of adaptations well suited to detecting and devouring uncommon nourishment.

Notes of chocolate, coffee, dried tart cherries, and raisins emirate from his lair. If you can evade the talons and teeth, the think body of this Russian imperial stout finishes sweet, with a piney resinous character.
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Aromas:
Rich sweetened condensed milk, tres leches cake, crème brulee,tropical fruit like passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, grapefruit, tangerines, citrus, oranges, stone fruit mango, peaches, apricot, dulce de leche caramel, bananas, Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, fudge chocolate, chocolate mousse, brown sugar, honey, dark candi sugar, fruit cake, pecan pie, almond joy, oak, dark fruit raisins, prunes, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, mocha, roasted coffee, brown sugar, molasses, anise, mild rum, leather, tobacco and toasted bread on blackberry jam.

Flavors:
Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, fudge chocolate, stone fruit mango, peaches, apricot, dulce de leche caramel, bananas, chocolate mousse, capirotada raisins bread pudding, peaces and cream, tropical fruit like passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, grapefruit, tangerines, citrus, oranges, molasses, anise, dark fruit raisins, prunes, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, mocha, roasted coffee, brown sugar, cherry Dr. pepper, rocky road ice cream, maple syrup, raspberries, marshmallows, graham cracker smores, toasted coconut, flan, earthy notes, mild rum, leather, tobacco, toasted bread on blackberry jam, rye bread, tres leches cake, lechera sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, plantains, chocolate mango, brown sugar, honey, dark candi sugar, fruit cake, pecan pie, almond joy and bourbon hints.

Aftertaste:
Rich Chocolate mango, coffee, tropical fruit like dragon fruit, passion fruit, earthy notes, oak, rye bread, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, banana, dark fruit raisin, blackberry preserves, coconut, fruit cake, pecan pie and other sweet goodies. No alcohol in the taste, dark abyss body, smooth velvety and silky mouthfeel and a dangerously easy drinkability like before.

Overall:
It has been a long time since I tried the original. The 2014 one was straight up barrel aged and that one was super amazing. So the original is definitely true to when I tried it back in 2013. Damn luscious evil, darkness, black magic, abysmal craziness. If you have never tried this beer, you have to get your hands on this one or any of the previous variants. This is always ridiculous to the core. A true Dark Lord of its own arts!

2015 Barrel Aged Darkness
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2015 Barrel Aged Darkness by Surly brewing is a 12% ABV World Class Russian Imperial Stout aged in High West Rye Whiskey Barrels.

Label:
(Same as The 2015 Darkness)
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Aromas:
Dark cherries, prunes, plums, currants, raisins, blackberries, vinous Caramel, dulce de leche caramel, rye whiskey, bourbon, marshmallows,oak, vanilla, Danish cream, Khalua coffee, mocha, leather, tobacco, Bubulubu chocolate, capirotada raisins bread pudding, Rich bananas, Flan, tres leches cake, vanilla, crème brulee, grilled plantains, platano burro, brown sugar, pecan pie, Gansito Chocolate berry pastry, honey, graham crackers, waffle cone, stone fruit peaches, chocolate mangos, mature mangos and hazelnut nectar.

Flavors:
Rich bananas, Flan, tres leches cake, vanilla, crème brulee, grilled plantains, platano burro, brown sugar, pecan pie up front, rye whiskey, bourbon, marshmallows, smores chocolate, campfire hints, maple syrup, dark cherries, prunes, plums, currants, blackberries, oreo cookies and cream, rocky road ice cream, Dr. Pepper cherry, stone fruit peaches, chocolate mangos, mature mangos, molasses, anise, fruit cake, almond joy chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, dark chocolate, leather tobacco, Gansito Chocolate berry pastry, honey, graham crackers, waffle cone, Danish cream, Khalua coffee, mocha, leather, tobacco, Bubulubu chocolate, capirotada raisins bread pudding, candi sugar, milk sugar, hazelnut nectar, tropical fruit like passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, grapefruit, tangerines, citrus, oranges, whipped cream, ice cream cake, chocoflan, chocolate cheese cake, port wine, Vinous Caramel and more.

Aftertaste:
Rich berries, rich coconut, vanilla, dulce de leche, rye whiskey, tropical chocolate mango, dark fruit raisins, figs, leather, dark cherries, fruit cake, pecan pie, sweetened condensed milk, marshmallows, chocolate smores, tres leches cake, and almond joy lingers. Super Rich. No alcohol in the taste despite this being strong ABV. The drinkability of super easy is quite dangerous. This beer treads the neither regions of dimensions of what truly is, a full dark body, smooth velvety, rich, syrupy and creamy mouthfeel.

Overall:
Talk about going head to head with some of the greats out there especially Black Tuesday from the Bruery, Three Floyds Dark Lord Imperial Stout and others like them. Rye Whiskey barrel aged version is more complex as this addition gives way transforming the original but also makes it more complex with varying temperatures. For only being able to purchase one per person at the Darkness Day Event, I am very grateful to the person who gave up theirs in order for us to have a chance to post it to the website. Such a damn honor and cheers to you good sir or m’am! As for you, the reader, I think it is definitely worth it to find this one. It be a rare whalez!

Anime Corner:
Ryuko Matoi from Kill La Kill was chosen in the previous versions of this beer. This year, since the barrel aged version is golden labeled, I am pairing also the Ryuko version with Senketsu Kisaragi. For those that do not know this form, it is the one that looks like she turned super saiyan from Dragon Ball Z increasing her power exponentially like the way the original Darkness power was increased by the process of Rye whiskey Barrel Aging. Each beer in its own means is delicious and evil as I show case the version of Ryuko when she was evil using Juunketsu (The White armored version). The original time I used Ryuko in 2013 was the original form with Senketsu so I paid tribute to that by bringing forth the Ryuko plushie in this pairing.
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Final Judgment:
Absolutely love them both. The Rye Whiskey version bring out more of the rye and whiskey flavors and mild the hoppy mango flavors although they are still present as the beer warms up. So definitely depending on your taste, you can choose one or the other but they are a damn fine collection worth having.

Sources:
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Rating: 6.25/7* 2015 Darkness
Rating: 7/7* 2015 Barrel Aged Darkness

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